Apr. 19, 2018

alpine willow, Salix arctica

Alpine or arctic willow grows farther north than any other woody plant, all the way to the north coast of Greenland. This spring it feels like we need to start planting it in Michigan. The fuzz on the heads enables the seeds to be blown around by wind. Could it also help keep the flowers warm? The Inuit use it as part of the wicks in their traditional oil lamps. Alpine willow and all the other willows contain salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. The plant has long been used as medicine in much the same way we now use its derivatives. Alpine willow grows around the northern world, including AK, CA, CO, ID, ME, MT, MN, NV, OR, UT, VT, WA, and all of Canada except the Maritimes, and GL. Mt. Evans National Park, Clear Creek Co CO, 6/18/13.